Lady Slipper Orchid Not Blooming? Here’s What To Do

Orchids are some of the most delicate, beautiful flowers in the world, but they aren’t the easiest plant to grow. This difficulty often prompts competitions and showcases surrounding the flower, especially when it comes to the lady slipper orchid. If you’ve signed up for the challenge of growing your own, and it’s not blooming, you may wonder what you’re doing wrong.  

Lady slipper orchids often fail to bloom due to inadequate amounts of sunlight. While orchids need sunlight, direct sunlight can damage their fragile petals. As a general rule, you should put your orchid in the light but keep it out of the direct sun. 

I know this may sound complicated (how could something need more light but not more sun?), so let’s break the concept down. In the rest of this article, I’ll explain what factors affect lady slipper orchid blooming timelines, talk about the difference between sunlight and indirect sunlight, and give you five strategies to help your lady slipper orchid bloom. 

Factors That Affect Lady Slipper Orchids Blooming Timelines 

If you have a lady slipper orchid, you’ve probably been eagerly waiting for it to bloom. The blooms are large and beautiful, with the lip of the flower resembling a lady’s slipper (hence the name). Although many people have difficulty getting their orchids to bloom, that doesn’t mean yours will never bloom! 

The reasons for an orchid failing to bloom are nearly always related to light, temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels. Overall, I’ve found that the most common reason an orchid isn’t blooming is because of the light it’s receiving. 

Orchids are a little finicky when it comes to lighting; yes, they need bright light (and a good amount of it!), but they don’t do well with certain types of light.

Your lady slipper orchid needs six to eight hours of indirect sunlight daily to thrive and bloom. However, the key term here may be “indirect” sunlight. Even if you’re giving your orchid six hours of sun, it may not bloom if the light is direct. Direct sunlight can damage or stress the delicate orchid flower. 

If you think that your lady slipper orchid will grow even faster with nine or ten hours of direct sunlight, remember that every plant has its preferences for a reason. Your lady slipper orchids can only handle 5-6 hours, and more sunlight does NOT equal more growth. When it comes to blooming flowers, more isn’t necessarily “more.” 

The Difference Between Indirect Light and Direct Sunlight 

We know all plants need sunlight, and we may also know that humans need sunlight, too, at least in some capacity. Although we all deserve—and quite honestly, need—a beach day or a sunny walk every once in a while, think about how differently we approach these experiences. 

Some of us need to lather on SPF, wear a big hat, and cover up our skin before we go out into the sun. Others may apply tanning oil and lie in the sunshine without a second thought. Plants are similar in this way. Some plants love sunlight, don’t get damaged easily, and do well in all temperatures. Orchids are not one of those plants.

Direct Sunlight Is Not Diffused or Blocked

Direct sunlight is when the sun is directly shining on your plant, as the name implies. We tend to think about this when we picture plants getting sunlight. It’s warm and bright and can cause your plants to wilt if they’re not used to it! 

Think of this as laying out in the sun on the beach with no shades, no umbrella, and no sunscreen. 

Partial Sunlight Is Less Extreme Than Direct Sunlight

Partial sunlight means that your plant is getting some sunlight, but not as much as direct sunlight. The light might be decreased because another object is blocking part of it, or the sun isn’t directly overhead. 

Partial sunlight can give your plant some energy without burning its leaves. Think of this as going out to lay on the beach for only small increments of time or wearing some sunscreen.

Indirect Sunlight Is Reflected or Diffused

Indirect sunlight comes from reflected light from other objects. The object may be something like a mirror or window pane (which reflects light from outside) or even just a cloud passing by overhead (which blocks direct sunlight).

Indirect sunlight can also help provide extra energy for plants in low-light conditions—just ensure it’s not too hot! Think of this as going out to the beach, wearing sunscreen, using an umbrella, and wearing long sleeves. 

It’s worth mentioning here that shaded plants are plants that don’t want much sunlight and prefer shade. This would be like not going to the beach at all. 

Orchids are delicate. They need bright indirect light. Though sunshine is beneficial and helps them grow, they need their own version of sunscreen and a big sun hat! 

Why Your Lady Slipper Orchid Isn’t Blooming and What To Do

Your lady slipper orchid likely isn’t blooming due to one of the following conditions:

  • Too much direct sunlight
  • Not enough indirect light
  • The wrong temperature in its habitat
  • Too much or too little watering
  • A lack of nutrients

Luckily, all of these things can be fixed quickly! To investigate what’s going on with your lady slipper orchid, I suggest looking at the ideal conditions for this type of flower and seeing if any of your conditions are off. 

Here’s what to do if your lady slipper orchid isn’t blooming:

1. Move Your Orchid

If you see your orchid wilting in the sunlight, try moving it out of the hot sun and into an area with indirect light.

The orchid needs to be in a location where it gets good indirect sunlight. It should have at least five to eight hours of direct sun daily. If possible, place your orchid near an east or west-facing window so that it will receive morning/afternoon sun and not get too hot during the day.

Indirect light is excellent for just about any plant, especially orchids. It provides enough warmth without being too hot. So, how do you know if your plant is getting enough indirect light? The best way I’ve found is to feel the leaves on my plants—if they feel warm, they receive plenty of indirect sunlight! You can also get a sun meter online or in a gardening store. 

2. Change The Temperature Conditions 

The temperature should be between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit (16-29 degrees Celsius) during the day and 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit (10-24 degrees Celsius) at night. Ultimately, this will depend on which type of orchid you have, so it’s best to check on your particular orchid’s requirements. 

You can use an indoor thermometer to help monitor the temperature range throughout different times during different seasons, as well as inside versus outside temperatures throughout those seasons.

3. Change Watering Routine

Too much water or too little water can also cause problems for your orchid. 

If you add too much water, this can result in root rot, which will kill the plant if not corrected immediately. The roots will start to rot and decay due to this excess moisture, causing the plant to lose roots and eventually die altogether. Too much water also attracts mold and mildew. 

Too little water is obviously not ideal, either. The soil should be kept moist without being soggy—you can tell whether or not you’ve watered enough by checking how damp the soil is. Sticking a finger or a moisture meter down into the sand will help you determine your plant’s moisture. 

4. Check Soil pH and Add Compost or Fertilizer 

First and foremost, you must ensure that your lady slippers are growing in soil with the proper pH. Lady slippers prefer a neutral pH, between 6 and 7. If your water is too acidic or too alkaline, it will prevent the roots from absorbing nutrients from the soil and cause the leaves to turn yellow and die back.

Lady slippers also need plenty of nutrients to thrive. They grow best in soil enriched with compost or other organic material

Final Thoughts 

If your lady slipper orchid isn’t blooming, the most likely cause is the amount of light it’s getting. 

You should move your orchid away from direct sunlight, but ensure it’s getting enough indirect sunlight each day. If inadequate sunlight doesn’t seem to be the case, analyze the basic needs of your plant and see if something is missing. Tools like moisture meters, pH test kits, and soil tests will help you.

If you wonder whether your lady slippers will bloom again, you can check out this article: How Often Do Lady Slippers Bloom?

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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